The University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has appealed to African leaders to develop and drive policies and programmes that would spur more innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for a younger generation of Africans.
UNN insisted that such opportunities are critical to human capital development, socio-economic transformation, including poverty and crime reduction on the continent.
Chinwe Okoli, who represented UNN at the 36th IASP world conference on science parks and areas of innovation held in Nantes, France, specifically asked world leaders to see Nigeria and Africa’s current development challenges as investment opportunities.
The IASP world conference brought together delegates from 54 countries of the world to extensively discuss ways in which innovation and ecosystems could support communities and regions as they further industrialise.
Ms. Okoli spoke on the topic: Opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned from setting up and running the first university embedded incubator and science park in West Africa.
She shared unique experiences and the journey of Roar Nigeria Hub and Lion Science Park, with particular attention to challenges of development in Africa, especially the impact on 4th industrial revolution.
Okoli noted that in spite of the challenges, young people in Nigeria achieved so much with the opportunity.
“Nigerian youths are so smart and intelligent, eager and ready to do extraordinary things to prove themselves. So, increased investment and opportunities would obviously herald a huge change, bigger opportunities, and expected results,” she said.
She also mentioned that with Nigeria’s estimated population of 200 million people, with over 90 million people below the age of 18, the future of the 4th industrial revolution is in Nigeria and Africa.
Okoli was convinced that the future global workforce and digital experts would emerge from Africa, as she called on African leaders to invest in capacity building of African youths. “This will be a wise investment,” she said.